It's not likely that Butte, MT, will ever be known as a Mecca for jazz and blues. But the Butte household where Kathleen Kolman grew up was a musical oasis as her father was a jazz instrumentalist on drums, tenor sax, and clarinet. To add icing on the cake, her mother was a vocalist. After studying music theory, Kolman did the rock & roll scene, performed in musical theater productions, and went on U.S.O. tours to the Orient. But her interest in jazz didn't peak until she moved to the New England area. Workshops by premiere jazz vocalists Sheila Jordan, Jay Clayton, and Lisa Thorson and studies with Brazilian stylist Camila Benson became the catalyst for Kolman to move forward as a jazz performer. Getting her first important jazz gig in 1992 in New Hampshire, she has since headlined jazz festivals in Butte and in Portsmouth, NH, as well as serving as the artist-in-residence at Plymouth State College. In June of 2000, she recorded the soundtrack for a show based on the life of pioneer woman airplane pilot Amelia Earhart. Her first album, The Dreamer, was released in 1999 for the Walkin' Foot Productions label and is built around a playlist of mostly second tier standards; that is, songs that while familiar and pleasant to hear, are not accorded all that prominent a place in the Great American Songbook. With her deep and husky blues-tinged voice, excellent range, and impeccable phrasing, she brings these tunes to life with panache and style. Citing Ella Fitzgerald, Shirley Horn, and Carmen McRae as influencing her approach to jazz singing, Kolman is making a mark for herself in the very competitive New England jazz vocal scene by performing at jazz venues throughout the area. All of this activity portends a fruitful jazz career for Kathleen Kolman.
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